Netanyahu’s ally questioned over corruption case

Jerusalem: A key ally of Israel‘s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned by the police on corruption charges.

Coalition chairman David Bitan was interrogated hours after 17 officials of the Israeli city Rishon Lezion were arrested as part of a widening corruption probe into suspected bribe-taking, reported the Times of Israel.

Bitan is accused of using his position as chair of the planning and construction committee on the city council to settle debts incurred during his time running the city’s soccer team.

He is also the driving force behind a legislation drive seen as aiding the fraught Netanyahu, who faces multiple corruption allegations.

On late Saturday, thousands of Israelis turned out in Tel Aviv for an anti-corruption rally calling on Netanyahu to resign.

The rally was held against the government’s police recommendations bill, which, the critics believe, is aimed at shielding the corruption cases labelled against Netanyahu.

The “march of shame” rally, which was organised by the leaders of the weekly anti-corruption demonstrations, was attended by tens of thousands of people.

The protest was held near Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s residence in Petah Tikva.

Similar protests were also held in Jerusalem and Haifa.

The prime minister came under the scanner in two graft cases, known as cases 1000 and 2000, for receiving gifts from business tycoons and making a deal with the owner of a newspaper daily ”for better coverage in return for curbs on a rival daily”, said the local media.

However, Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing. (ANI)